Just because something is so patently a good idea and has been outstanding for such a ridiculous length of time, it doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t congratulate and indeed thank the person who rights that earlier wrong.

Therefore step forward Nick Clegg and take your bow for seeking to replace maternal leave with parental leave whereby either parent can take the ten months paid leave to look after their newborn child and give it the best start in life.

This isn’t the end of the story for parental leave of course – what about cohabiting couples who aren’t married? Should they have access? Should that exclude/include same sex couples? (and there’s no reason why they should be excluded). Should an employee have to work for 6 months/1 year/2 years before they are entitled to the benefit? Plenty of babyfood for thought remains.

However, the positives should be focussed on.

I can’t reference it, but I do recall reading that clear evidence exists that fathers who take extended leave to be with their newborn child during their formative years tend to stick around longer and the benefits that parental leave will mean for equality and treatment of females in the workplace are obvious. Any discrimination against employees ‘of child-bearing age’ (whatever that means these days) can now be applied equally across both the sexes rather than just against females.

The gender inequality to one side, there is something quite pleasing about the three party leaders (four if one includes Gordon Brown) all being fathers of young children and all having real life experience and an emotional investment in this issue. The ‘tone at the top’ can do wonders to change attitudes across a country, and goodness knows that large parts of this country needs attitudes to change, so it is gratifying to see Ed Miliband take his full paternity leave and to know that David Cameron makes sure he does the weekly shopping. We might need a few football stars to publicly do the same to get the message across more fully but political leaders are doing their bit and, amidst the cynicism and snide remarks, they deserve praise for that.

Politically speaking, this is clearly Nick Clegg’s policy and it is through these announcements that Lib Dem redemption may yet be realised. This won’t be the end of the ‘easy wins’ that the coalition junior partners will have accrued for the years ahead in return for assisting the Conservatives so resolutely and, like this policy, it should pay off. Labour had 13 years to act on parental leave and only started to far too late, the Conservatives (rightly or wrongly) are not typically associated with fuzzy, family friendly policies and the Greens, long onboard with these proposals and in many ways leading the way, simply do not get the press that would suitably reward them. This is cash cow territory for Lib Dem fortunes.

Stable families are the bedrock of society and I have seen many a father come back to work after a paltry two weeks of leave (one of which is unpaid) barely able to keep their eyes open.

With this flexibility in the benefits system, young families can thrive and business will benefit through reduced discrimination and an appreciative, energised workforce.

No complaints from me on this one – I agree with Nick.